Tag Archive: Gruet

Sparkling Rose Continued

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this endeavor I’ve taken looking into sparkling rose. I purchased 3 more, two stateside and one from Greece. In retrospect, I’ve had the Greek sparkling rose before, but I want it with me on set for this next episode of Wine Whatevers.

Gruet Brut Rose: From New Mexico, USA. This sparkler is a beautiful, antique rose clor that is more concentrated in the center, than the bottom of the glass. the bubbles from Gruet Brut Rose are delicate, and centered, flowing quickly to the top, but without a foam layer on top. This wine is very dry, and highly acidic. I remember having this before, with the dinner I hosted before I took the Sommelier Exam. I paired it with Caprese salad on crostini, and it was perfect for cutting the fatty cheese and complemented the acid of the tomatoes. While the Gruet Brut Rose is not something that I’d serve without food, it certainly has it’s place.

Next up: Scharffenberger Brut Rose: From Mendocino County CA, USA. Scharffenberger Brut Rose is the palest rose I have seen to date. It appears to be an almost skin-tone peach, the barest blush on the cheeks of a pale woman. The bubbles are larger, gathering on the surface of the wine, creating a layer of fizz, not unlike soda. The aromas waft up to greet the nose, with peaches and cream, and sliced ripe strawberries under whipped cream. While it isn’t a terribly refined wine, it is intriguingly delightful. This wine is highly acidic, but the aromas are accurate to the flavors, strawberries, unsweetened peaches. I would pair this with pasta, tomato meat sauce, and garlic bread. It is a perfect accompaniment to an Italian dinner. The most frustrating thing is that none of the Champagne stoppers I own fit this bottle’s tiny neck, and thus, it must be shared, or dumped in libations in celebration of good company, should there be any present. In my case, a simple expandable stopper seems to plug it, though i a day or so, if I ignore it, the cork will shoot out scaring the be-geesus out of me.

I’m out of corks, and patience, so I will hold off on the review of the “Akakies” Sparkling Rose from Amyndeon Greece, vintage 2015. It’s deeper cherry, almost candied, than any of the other sparkling rose’s, and if memory serves, fruitier, and more approachable. It is a delightful example of the attitude that Greece it has been known for in the past, of jovial celebration, tradition, and mild revelry.



Pairing Dinner

I’m excited about a personal event I’m putting on tomorrow night. I would say that this is a mid-term exam, leading up to my second round at the Sommelier Certification Exam in June. No, I didn’t pass the first time, but I wasn’t expecting to. The re-take rate is high on the exam, but the first round in any mental boxing match, should always be used to size up your opponent, if you’re not a heavy-weight, that is. (I’d consider myself in the middle-weight class of wine-geekery).

I’m holding a pairing dinner tomorrow night, and the menu is as follows, complete with pairings. My guests are: A lifetime wine connoisseur, who’s worked as a Sommelier for a variety of places over the past 40 years, a wine shop owner, and collector. Accompanying him will be his partner at the shop, and fabulous photographer, and of course, my parents. I will be serving, and critiqued on etiquette, and precision.

Appetizer: Miniature Caprese salad on baguette from a local bakery. The mozzarella was made from goat’s milk, by yours truly! (Making cheese is a hobby of mine.) Pairing: Gruet Rose. I suspect that the dry sparkling rose will act as an excellent match to liven up the cheese and make the tomato bite really pop. Originally I wanted to use the Arca Nova Rose, but wasn’t able to access it- and perhaps that was for the best. A dry rose will be much more appealing with Caprese.

Main course: Roasted Salmon with thyme, and asparagus. The fish is prepared simply, to show off it’s natural flavors, with asparagus, a spring time favorite, for texture, and color. Pairing: Jed Steele’s Shooting Star Aligote. Aligote’s apple citrus flavors will liven up the fleshiness of the salmon and the acid will act in place of a lemon squeeze on the asparagus, green matching fruity green. As an alternative, Sean Minor’s 4B Pinot Noir is being offered, because the worst question that I stumbled over in the last exam was, “What red would you serve with fish?” The earthiness and fruit in the pinot noir will, with luck, compliment the herbs on the salmon. (I’m not 100%, but I like the wine.)

Dessert: Lemon pound cake, drizzled with a light frosting. This cake is moist, sweet, and lemony, and light. Pairing: SECCO Moscato, because the bubbles and sweetness will compliment the cake. I didn’t want to serve something cloying, but the sweetness of the wine should be more sweet than the dessert itself, or at least match it.

With any luck, the dinner will go well, the Gruet won’t make a loud bang, the wine won’t make the fish extra fishy, and the SECCO won’t make the lemon cake taste sour.

This tasting was held just before the holidays, but I’m thoroughly of the opinion that sparkling wines shouldn’t just be for the holidays, alone. I may not partake daily, or even weekly, but sparkling wine is a great accompaniment to any evening with friends. I prefer not to drink it alone, just because I’m not a fan of re-corking sparkling wines.

Moscato DiCello: This delightful Italian is pleasingly light, with heady fruit. It holds peaches, white apricots and even bananas. I’m not generally a fan of moscatos, because they’re usually too fruity for me, but they are a crowd pleaser for those drinkers who grew up on soda.

Adami “Trevisio Garbel” Prosecco: Now here’s a sparkler that’s more my speed. Prosecco is made from the Glera grape, not the “prosecco” grape, it doesn’t exist. This wine presents with delightfully tiny bubbles, lemony citrus that compliments but doesn’t overpower the crisp apple notes. The Adami prosecco is perfect with salads.

Gruet Sauvage: This was my initial favorite for the night, the sparkler that I expected to enjoy the most. It’s the first sparkling wine from the New Mexico winery that I really enjoyed. This wine tastes of apricots, pears, beautifully light star fruit, and toasted almonds.

Jean Luc Joillet Cremant Rose: This wine is full of ripe raspberries, dusty roses, light meatiness to give it body, and and almost violet candy hint with a perfect fresh finish. This is the wine I purchased for New Years Eve with my parents, and it’s the first sparkling wine that I’ve ever seen them actually enjoy~!

Roederer L’Ermitage 2006: The famed Roederer Champagne house has invested in properties in France and in California’s Anderson Valley. Made famous by it’s crown jewel, “Cristal,” Roederer estates have produced a number of excellent sparkling wines I haven’t been a fan of them until recently, though. Until last year, the best I could say about their standard sparkler was that it was better than Gruet. This wine reminds me that it is well worth investing a little more money to get a product that are miles in quality above their standard lines. This wine is a stunning balance of pears, toasty almonds, a hint of yeast that is telltale of excellent sparkling wines (indicating a second fermentation that causes bubbles rather than injected CO2 like soda) The balance of the Roederer Estate L’Ermitage is perfection between fruit and acid, to create an excellently refined evening companion. I purchased this wine for my birthday, though I still have yet to drink it.

Cheers! Prost! Happy holidays, folks. The holidays have snuck up on us once again! Halloween flew by, closely tied in popularity with the first day of hunting season, a Montana holiday if there ever was one.

One essential tradition that marks each holiday is the clink of a glass, and a few words to mark the occasion. What makes a toast great? What makes a toast terrible? The words are for you to decide, but the contents of the raised glass aren’t nearly as complicated.

For some folks, the toast could be made with hot cocoa. For others, the bubbles could come from sparkling cider, Champagne or sparkling wine.

A common question that one might be asked in a store is, “do you have Champagne?”

Most stores will have at least a few rows of sparkling wines, such as Scharffenberger, Roederer Estate, Cristalino Brut, Gruet and Lunetta Prosecco. These are all delicious, bubbly wines, but they aren’t Champagne.

All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are Champagne.

To be designated as Champagne, it must originate in the Champagne region of France, which is one of the better known historical sites of production. Here in Helena, there are a number of different excellently crafted Champagnes available. The first real Champagne that I can remember drinking is the Gosset Champagne. There was such a huge difference between the large-bubbled Spanish Cava, the Italian Prosecco and this delicate beauty, that I realized why people enjoy Champagne.

For many years, I’ve disliked that super-dry, yeasty quality that many of the old Champagnes are known for. I had the Gosset as a New Year’s toast, on the eve of 2011, in my parent’s living room, watching the ball drop on the television. This stunning sparkler is delightfully crisp, with delicately refined bubbles (not giant soda bubbles), full-bodied finesse, with the perfect balance of citrus acidity to be refreshing.
(Let me just add here that the original article I wrote, had listed the Pol Roger Champagne here, but in my records it was the Gosset).

If you’re looking for state-side, toast-worthy material, Gruet sparkling wine could be perfect for your holiday toast. The Gruet Winery is located in New Mexico. Since 1989, the American Gruet Winery has produced delicious sparkling wines that range from a rose with hints of cherry and marzipan, to a more serious Blanc de Blanc with overtones of lemon drop candy, green apples, tempered with whispers of cream.

In the beginning, Champagne was a complicated, manual labor process involving two fermentations and recorking bottles. Today, that method called “Methode Champenoise,” is still used. Most of the time, you will see the production method printed on the label of the wine.

The least expensive method of creating a sparkling wine is to simply carbonate it by injecting CO2 into the wine, like one might with soda. While this may not give the drinker the refined flavors and experience that more traditionally created sparkling wines might, many of these wines are quite enjoyably simple.

Whether you’re toasting the fruits of a big hunt, sitting in front of a fire, or welcoming in the new year, make sure you have something in your glass that you enjoy!